The Social Security Act of 1935

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The Social Security Act Of 1935

Before the 1930’s, there was no support of the elderly, retired, unemployed or poor at the national government level. Any support to people who fell under this category was either a state, local or private matter. However, in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt communicated to Congress the need for a national old-age insurance system, due to the general distress caused by the Great Depression. The result was an act called the Social Security Act Of 1935. This would be the first program of its kind anywhere in the world. The act provided for the general welfare of elderly people by forming a federal system of old age, disability, unemployment and poverty benefits.

On the same day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent the message to Congress, two members of Congress, Senator Robert Wagner of New York and Representative David Lewis of Maryland introduced bills that reflected what the president had requested. These bills would become what we know today to be the Social Security Act of 1935.  However, the bill was not passed immediately. It was not until August 15, 1935, more than 6 months after the introduction of bills in January 17, 1935, that the bills were passed and signed by the president. The main reason for the delay in the passing of these bills was the widespread disagreement with the idea that the government should intervene in that had always been handled at a state, local or private level. In addition, many sought a loophole that could enable employers to be exempt from payroll taxes if the employers adopted a government approved pension plan.

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The Social Security Act of 1935 created a number of programs including old age insurance, unemployment insurance, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs. These programs were created mostly because of the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, a large percentage of people was out of work, and due to this could not save money for any purpose, let alone to retire on. In fact, many had difficulties just making enough money to feed their families. In addition, more than 50% of the elderly in our country were at or below the poverty line. The old age insurance ...

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